“I’ve been demoted,” Emily said to Lisa with a smile and a nod at Amina.
“Yes, of course,” Lisa said without a shred of seriousness in her voice. “But don’t get any ideas. I already told you, I get enough of that “Mom” stuff at home.”
“Right, mom,” Emily said, but she said it softly.
Amina came over and plopped down on the couch. “I still cannot believe there are three elect in this one place. That is unheard of.”
“Exactly what I thought when I first arrived.” The voice came from the waiting room door. Heinrich Schultz stopped to remove his heavy coat. “But I am beginning to see why. As Father Martin used to remind me, the Almighty knows why, we just need to do the best we can with what he has called us to do.”
“Lord Heinrich,” Amina dropped her eyes.
“Why Heinrich? I understand it is unusual, but why are three of us here? Might one of us be needed elsewhere?” Lisa had thought about it a lot in the last six months and was seriously curious.
Heinrich took a seat. “Because this insignificant little burg is at the center point of all the big cities on the East coast. I believe it was not by accident that New Jersey chose this place for its capital. All of the human vibrations from Boston to Washington, the mystical energy if you will, flows right through here. Everyone considers the spokes that make the wheel, but in truth they all flow to that little center hole that holds the wheel to the wagon. Without that center hole, which no one thinks of, the wheel will be useless.”
Emily looked up. “Gee, I thought it was just by chance that the Pentagon chose out-of-the-way Jersey State to hold its super soldier contest.”
‘That too,” Heinrich nodded. “If you believe anything is by chance.”
“Detective Schromer?” The nurse came to the waiting room by way of the back door. Lisa stood. “Latasha is going to be fine. She will need to stay for a day or two, but she is in no danger. I have already arranged for her to room with the others as you requested.”
Heinrich stood. “Yes, I must go see the others. I want them to know how proud I am of them all. And also I have to officially convey President Batiste’s wishes for their speedy recovery.”
“President of the University?” Emily asked.
Lisa stiffened. It was possible she might never stop reacting that way in this man’s presence. “I was told and always understood that it was best to keep our presence quiet if not secret.”
“Generally, yes.” Heinrich admitted. “For every Joan of Arc, there are ten Joanna of Flanders that make only an historical footnote, and a hundred women not remembered at all. But everyone of them had family and friends. None needed to act alone. Indeed, when one of the elect is too alone and feels isolated, there is the greatest danger to go rogue.”
“But my friends. They could have died,” Emily said. There were tears in the corners of her eyes. The last day was traumatic, and now Latasha was almost more than she could handle.
“And you might have died, had you been there. As I understand it, the walking dead were designed to explode the minute you stabbed the heart or cut the head.”
“Yes,” Lisa said. “Julie has confirmed that.”
Heinrich nodded and looked at Lisa. “But to your point, after four hundred and seventy some years, I like to think I understand this world a little. These young women freely chose Emily’s friendship and everything that entails. They came to me to learn to fight all on their own, in case you or Emily ever needed them. I know these days people move and drift apart, but I believe any one of these women, though not elect, may do something someday for someone and make a positive difference in this world. This is thanks to you, and the good example you set.”
“It is true.” Amina stood, so Emily stood as well. “You are the example for us all.”
“Saint Emily? I don’t think so. Gee, I was with you up until you said I have to set a good example.” Emily spoke to the man. “I get stage fright.”
“As do I,” Heinrich said.
“But it is true,” Amina repeated. “You are the queen and we are your tribe.”
“Yes, Amazons,” Heinrich nodded. “There haven’t been any real Amazons in over two thousand years, but in this case the image may be appropriate. As I understand the history of it, the chief driving force of the Amazon nation was to defend their families and friends from the onslaught of the world.”
“History Professor,” Emily said aside to Lisa.
“You have your partner, Mister Mousad, and many others on the force like Rob Parker and Mitzy, the nice lady at the front desk. Even if they do not know all the details, they understand more than you think and they are there for you. Emily needs no less, and Latasha needs her friends and family as well, though I am not sure about that Darren fellow.” With that said, Heinrich saluted again, grabbed his coat and left to find Maria, Jessica and Mindy to tell them he was proud of them.
“We need to see Latasha,” Lisa immediately changed the subject.
“But wait,” Amina interrupted. “Her mother will be here in a minute.”
“Where?” Lisa looked down the hall, and Emily looked with her. They heard the ding of the elevator bell and stared as the doors opened and Ashish stepped off followed by Latasha’s mother. Lisa looked back, but Amina would not meet her eyes.
“My Sybil,” Emily said.
“I remember,” Lisa nodded, but was quickly interrupted by a woman in tears. Ashish whispered in her ear. “Social services took the two little ones.” Lisa quickly passed Latasha’s mama to Emily’s arms and started for the elevator. Unwilling to wait for it to return, she headed for the stairs. Amina shouted after her.
“The lady you seek plays the organ.”
Lisa heard and mouthed the words, “I knew it!”